On November 8, 2016 the voters of Oregon passed Measure 100, which bans the sale and purchase of elephant ivory and other animal parts. Listed with these animals are sting rays, the skin of which is called same or same-kawa in Japanese.
This material has been used for wrapping handles and covering scabbards for over 1000 years in Japan, as well as elsewhere. Like rawhide, it is strong and visually appealing, and provides a non-slip hand hold.
In order to comply with this new law we regret that as of June 30, 2017 we will no longer offer handles or other parts incorporating ray skin.
We are currently investigating and experimenting with other materials that will provide the strength and beauty of ray skin.
3 Replies to “Notice Regarding Ray Skin Handles and Scabbards”
First, I would like to say, that your work is inspiring, and I’ve continually returned to your site, just to admire and study some of the pictures.
Secondly, I was surprised to hear about this news (the Measure 100 passing) and wondered if you have found anything that is suitable for ray skin replacement. I know you work in a traditional manner, and would be interested in any conclusions you have come to for tsuka and the wrapping.
I was looking for a ray skin tsuka for a favorite tanto of mine and was drawn to your site by the very nice images you have of past products–I’ve been collecting for nearly 40 years and appreciated very much that you express the same values as the Japanese and was, therefore, disappointed that Big Brother there in Oregon has once again reared it’s Marxist style head in your area. Further, I was considering the current methods of the Chinese government and the businesses that operate in their country, i.e., “screw everybody and to hell with trademarks, registration of products and especially ALL Copyright Laws.” And while I think that this may be as bad for Copyright holders as it is good for folks who do not have $20,000 to spend (and 5 or 10 years to wait) and who want to own something worthwhile–it leaves me somewhat conflicted.
But, regarding sting rays, it is my view that totalitarianism in any form is not a good thing…
If they make such laws to protect a fish (that, as you said, has been a tradition for over 1000 years by sword makers), where do they stop? It makes just as much sense, or lack of sense, to stop silk production in order to “protect” the silk worm, and so on down to the line to trees used for making a saya (or a house for that matter), then what about “destruction of the environment” to obtain the ore to make steel–there is no end to government intervention in things that are actually none of their concern.
And as a criminal psychologist I can tell you that once the public get use to being told what to do the dictatorial nature of these government people quickly turns to control of everything, even as Orwell said about his 1984 society needing the “Thought Police,” to control their citizens.
Ultimately, when a law is wrong (except of course for the obvious murder, rape, robbery and like crimes), i.e., infringing on personal freedoms of any kind the question must be asked, “when does defiance of a ‘law’ become the duty of responsible citizens.”
Do you have a wakizashi currently for sale now? the Filipino Barong you have, what is the length of the blade and what is the over all lenght? what is the over all weight of it too?